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Social Security

Your Spouse may be Covered by Social Security

[Posted on 03/23/2015 at 10:04 AM]

 by Ruth Taylor, Social Security District Manager
Jefferson City, MO

If you have a spouse who does not earn an income or who earns less than you do, your spouse (including a same-sex spouse) may be entitled to Social Security spouses’ benefits based on your record.

Social Security can be an important financial asset for married couples when the time comes to apply for retirement benefits.  In many cases, one spouse may have earned significantly more than the other, or may have worked longer.  Or it could be that one spouse stayed home to do the work of raising the children, caring for elderly family members, or managing the household while the other focused on a career.

Whatever your situation, Social Security will look at all possibilities to make sure both spouses receive the maximum Social Security benefits possible, whether based on each spouse’s earnings record or the higher wage earner’s record.

Your spouse can apply for benefits the same way that you apply for benefits on your own record. He or she can apply for reduced benefits as early as age 62, or for 100% of the retirement benefits at “full retirement age.”  Not sure what the full retirement ages are?  To learn your and your spouse’s full retirement age, based on birth year, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/ageincrease.htm.

The benefit amount your spouse can receive at full retirement age can be as much as one-half of your full benefit.  If your spouse opts for early retirement, the benefit may be as little as a third of your full benefit amount.  Note that benefits paid to your spouse do not decrease your benefit amount.

If you have already reached full retirement age but continue to work, you can apply for retirement benefits and request to have the payments suspended until as late as age 70.  This would let you earn delayed retirement credits that will mean higher payments later and allow your spouse to receive a spouse’s benefit.

People can also apply for spouse benefits based on the earnings record of an ex-spouse or deceased spouse if married for at least 10 years. Spouses can consider a number of options and variables. We make it easier to navigate them. A good place to start is by visiting our benefits planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners.  Take note of the “Benefits as a Spouse” section.

In the unfortunate event of a family member’s death, we want you to know that Social Security is here to help.  In addition to the emotional difficulty family members experience, there is often a financial burden as well, especially if the family’s main wage earner dies.  In such cases, Social Security survivors’ benefits will help.

You can find additional useful information, such as our survivors planner and information about how to apply for survivors benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/survivors.htm. If you are ready to apply for benefits, the fastest, easiest, and most convenient way is to apply online!  You can do so at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline and complete your application in as little as 15 minutes.



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MOSERS
Missouri State Employees' Retirement System
Address: 907 Wildwood Dr., Jefferson City, MO 65102
https://www.mosers.org/images/mosers-logo-bg-375-280.jpg Phone: 800.827.1063 URL: Email: mosers@mosers.org Founded On: September 1, 1957